Sunday, April 17, 2016

Electrician in North Carolina Discovers Historic Documents

An electrician helping to renovate a historic home in Asheville, North Carolina accidentally unearthed a tin box that contained a trove of historic documents, some of which were signed by two U.S. Presidents.

The electrician, German Martinez, uncovered the collection hidden in a cavity above a doorway at the Patton-Parker House.

Mr. Martinez was running wire to a back room, working in a doorway beside a hearth. He took down a patch of drywall, revealing an older layer of plaster and wood lathing.

As he cut away, he uncovered a secret compartment hidden next to the chimney. Looking inside, he caught a glimpse of color. He pulled out a tin box embossed with Caribbean scenes and a stack of leather-bound books and legal documents covered with ash.

The find: a treasure trove of historic documents, including papers signed by presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren.

The home at Charlotte and Chesnut Streets, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1868 by three former slaves.

Among the historic documents was a land grant showing property in Alabama signed over to Patton by President Andrew Jackson in November 1830, likely for land wrested from Native Americans under the Indian Removal Act signed that same year.

Another land grant for Alabama property was signed by President Martin Van Buren in 1837.

The oldest document found was a 1799 sailor's journal that chronicles a year of travel.

Ledgers from the exclusive Asheville Club, comprised of some of the East Coast's wealthiest men, was also found.

Patton was a Civil War hero who rose to the rank of captain in the Confederate Army and came home to Asheville and built the sprawling family home.

Mr. Patton served as Asheville mayor, Buncombe County commissioner and county tax collector. He died in 1907.

“I’ve worked in a lot of old houses, but I’ve never found anything like this,” the electrician said.

Asheville attorney Jim Siemens bought the historic home last fall and is renovating it for use as a law office.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Builder to Construct 385 Luxury Apartments in Reston

A builder has plans to construct a brand new community in Reston, Virginia with over one million square feet of mixed-use development. Located on eight acres of land on Sunrise Valley Drive, this community, dubbed Reston Heights, will soon make way for a brand new mixed-use building. 

Recently, The JBG Companies hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for a five-story building called VY / Reston Heights that will house 385 apartments and 89,000 square feet of retail.

The project will include a public plaza with outdoor dining, a play area and an amphitheater for events.

Additional plans include building adjacent parking structure with over 700 above-ground and below-ground parking spots.

Residences will include junior one-bedroom to three-bedroom apartments. 46 of the units will be designated for affordable housing. The project is expected to be complete by 2017, with retailers arriving in early 2018.

The developer may add an additional 375,000 square feet of mixed-use space to the project in a future phase. 

The five-story apartment building, designed by Cunningham Quill Architects, was inspired by the original 1960s development at Lake Anne Village Center in Reston, a modern European-modeled community.

The mixed-use buildings and adjacent parking garage will have tall natural wood beams that echo the vertical designs of Reston’s first buildings at Lake Anne.

The Reston Heights district has several existing properties along Sunrise Valley Drive on the south side of the Dulles Toll Road, including two hotels, a condo and two office buildings.

The site is roughly half a mile from the planned Reston Town Center Metro station, which is expected to open only a few years after the completion of VY in 2020.

The community is within a few minutes’ drive to the Wiehle Avenue Metro station, which is already open, and to Dulles International Airport.